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Gov pledges $1m to GB businesses

The Office of the Prime Minister has pledged $1 million of support for small and medium-sized businesses in Grand Bahama, according to Minister of State Kwasi Thompson during the Grand Bahama Port Authority's Business Innovation and E-Commerce Boot Camp last week. Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister Kwasi Thompson addresses the Grand Bahama Port Authority's Business Innovation and E-Commerce Boot Camp at the Grand Lucayan June 7, 2017. (BIS Photo/Vandyke Hepburn)

Monday, June 12, 2017
Monday, June 12, 2017

The Office of the Prime Minister has pledged $1 million to support small and medium-sized businesses in Grand Bahama, according to Minister of State Kwasi Thompson during the Grand Bahama Port Authority’s (GBPA) Business Innovation and E-Commerce Boot Camp last week.

The one-day event was held at the Grand Lucayan resort June 7, and attended by a cross section of business owners in Grand Bahama.

In making his first official speech in this new capacity, Thompson said the state of the Grand Bahama economy is well known. The government, he said, “must collect more, spend less, spend more effectively and receive more value for the money spent. This will be a reality for Grand Bahama.”

It is time for Grand Bahama to do things differently, he said. While there was dependence on tourism and banking in the past, it is time to broaden the way business owners think so that there is more room for development.

“It will not be easy; it will require more from government, more from you in the private sector, more from the Grand Bahama Port Authority including its partners and companies. It will stretch us all, which may be difficult, but then again nothing worth having ever comes easy.”

“Grand Bahama, specifically, is home to miles of previously unrealized potential. However, quite frankly, I for one am tired of hearing about our potential; it’s time we start to fulfil this potential. Under the direction of our Prime Minister and his government, Grand Bahama’s focus will be to flourish in industries such as maritime, aviation, technology, medical and eco-tourism as well as media production.”

“This administration has committed to focus on the development of Freeport as a technology hub and create incentives to establish a financial services centre in Grand Bahama.”

“With this in mind, the Office of the Prime Minister Grand Bahama has set out to establish a Grand Bahama Investment Promotions Board with sole purpose to promote Grand Bahama as a place for business. We are committed to partnering with stakeholders to attract new and targeted investments.”

“We are committed to shortening the time investments are approved and will be setting up an Investment Unit which will mirror the Bahamas Investment Authority to enable investment projects to be processed here in Grand Bahama. It is our hope that business deals will become increasingly easier to facilitate if investors do not have to go through Nassau at least at the processing level.”

As the reopening of the hotels on the Lucaya strip is a top priority of the government, several meetings have been held with respect to the sale and redevelopment of Our Lucaya.

“The stability of any economy depends a great deal on the strength of its middle class and small to medium-sized businesses. It is time now for entrepreneurs and local businesses to prosper on this island.”

“It is the intent of the government to work collaboratively with The Grand Bahama Port Authority to unleash the potential ingenuity of the Grand Bahamian entrepreneur to stimulate, expand and sustain both themselves and our economy going forward.”

Thompson said: “I believe that by means of this collaboration, the economy of Grand Bahama will be jumpstarted and set on a path for advancement and success. To this end the Office of the Prime Minister in Grand Bahama proposes in this year’s budget, which is being debated in Parliament, to spend $1 million on small and medium-sized business support.”

The Caribbean Tourism Organization has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Travel Foundation to formally establish a framework of cooperation.

The Central Bank of The Bahamas announces the appointment of Charles Littrell as the new inspector of banks and trust companies, with effect from 26 June, 2017. He will head up the Bank Supervision Department and continue the Central Bank’s financial sector supervisory capacity building programme.

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